Acute hearing loss

Synoynms in a broader sense

Medical: Hypacusis deafness, deafness, conductive hearing loss, sensorineural hearing loss, sensorineural hearing loss, sensorineural hearing loss, hearing loss, sudden deafness

Definition of hearing loss

Hearing loss (hypacusis) is a reduction in hearing ability that can range from mild hearing loss to complete deafness. Hearing loss is a widespread disease that occurs both in young people and far more frequently in the elderly. In Germany, approximately six percent of the population is affected by hearing loss.

Conspicuously, the age at which hearing loss occurs is decreasing more and more. Naturally, however, hearing loss only progresses with increasing age. One only becomes aware of a reduction in hearing when familiar noises, sounds and voices are suddenly no longer perceived or understood.

The hearing loss usually sets in gradually and can be perceived as a considerable handicap if the damage has already occurred. The focus is not so much on the treatment of hearing loss as on its prevention at a young age. For prevention, many measures can be taken to preserve our sense of hearing.

Although there are legal regulations in the workplace which stipulate that one may not expose oneself to a noise level of over 85 decibels (dB) without hearing protection, this limit is reached especially during leisure time. Discos, rock concerts, loud music through headphones, car races etc. generate such noise, which in the long run can cause unstoppable damage to our hearing.


What causes acute conductive hearing loss and how is it treated? Earwax (cerumen) and foreign bodies in the external auditory canalEarwax, dust and pieces of skin are natural in the external auditory canal and are usually transported to the outside of the ear by themselves or flushed out when showering. However, an excessive accumulation or formation of earwax (cerumen) occurs more frequently in narrow ear canals or when working in dusty conditions.

Attempts to remove earwax with sticks unfortunately result in even more wax being transported towards the eardrum, further clogging the ear canal. Other foreign bodies such as cotton wool residues can also increasingly block the auditory canal. Children sometimes run the risk of putting small objects in their ears while playing without their parents noticing. These foreign bodies or earwax become visible through an otoscope (ear mirror) and can be removed with small instruments at the family doctor’s office. If mechanical removal is not successful, the earwax (cerumen) or the foreign body is rinsed out with water.

Inflammation of the external auditory canal (Otitis Externa)

The external auditory canal can be inflamed by bacteria, viruses, fungi or in case of allergies. The swelling can block the ear canal so much that it can lead to hearing loss (hypacusis). An antibiotic (bacteria), antifungal (fungi) or anti-inflammatory treatment will quickly reduce the swelling.